Well, it has been a few days since I have written anything. I neglected to take any pictures of the church - it was amazingly beautiful.
Those of us who were there were fortunate to meet so man y other musicians and pastors. Several of the musicians in attendance were also composers whose work I knew. It was just great to meet them and get their thoughts on the event as well as on the whole idea of worship renewal. It is a pretty broad topic, when you begin to think about it.
We had so many worship services in those few days - I think there were 3 each on Tuesday and Wednesday and 2 more on Thursday morning. It was good to try different things with hymns, to hear the proclamation of the Word from pastors of varying backgrounds, to have different organists or pianists for each service. Then we met in our small groups to talk about worship. Any and every item in worship was up for discussion. It was interesting to hear what things were important to the pastors as opposed to what was important to the musicians. You may or may not know that there is a running joke in the Lutheran church about the way pastors and musicians get along - they just don't! After listening to discussion, it would be easy to believe that pastors and musicians are 2 completely different kinds of people and that the 2 could never mix. Fortunately, that is not really true.
I took a shuttle to George Bush International Airport at 1:25 pm. We flew out at 4 pm to Dallas, where we were due to leave at 7 pm for Sioux Falls. Due to weather, the flight was delayed. Then it was delayed even more because we had to wait for a flight attendant to come in from Mexico. They announced that she had arrived in Dallas but it took a half hour for her to get to the gate. I think the dissatisfaction rate climbed really high.... We finally left at 10:26 pm, arriving back in Sioux Falls at 12:30 am. Whew! It was good to be back.
My team partners - Rev. Steve Palo and Rev. Bill Tesch - and I did some planning as to how we would carry out what churchwide is wanting us to do. Steve and I will be making a presentation to the Synod Council in August. While we are working on that, we will also be working with the planning team for the Fall Conference for pastors. After that, it will just depend on what the pastors think. We will try to have a "presence" on the synod website. We are also going to try to set up a group where we can have interaction with pastors and musicians regarding any worship questions they may have. So for right now, the job is not too big - but I may just be kidding myself. A wonderful thing is that Steve and I feel much the same way about many things in worship, which is helpful. And we are well-supported by synod staff - most notably Bill Tesch and our bishop, Dave Zellmer.
So now it is just to get going - write down what we think happened in Houston, prepare a concise report, and work with the fall conference planning people. Wish us well!!!